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BCC Ruling No. 97-17-559

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IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24 (1) of the Building Code Act, 1992.

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence and Article of "the Building Code" (Ontario Regulation 419/89 as amended by Ont. Reg. 183/88, 581/88, 11/89 and 115/89)

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. John Van Oostrom, Principal Civil Engineer, DuPont Canada Inc., P.O. Box 3500, Kingston, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Terry Willing, Chief Building Official, Township of Kingston, concerning whether the subject building is 1 storey in height in accordance with Sentence of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and whether structural fire resistance under OBC Article should apply to the expansion of the plant at 455 Front Road, Township of Kingston, Ontario.


Mr. John Van Oostrom
Principal Civil Engineer
DuPont Canada Inc.
P.O. Box 3500
Kingston, Ontario


Mr. Terry Willing
Chief Building Official
Township of Kingston


Mr. Michael Lio, Chair
Mr. Michael Steele
Mr. Ross Thomson


Toronto, Ontario

Wednesday, May 28th, 1997

Mr. Don Blachford
Project Manager - Engineering &
Ms. Nina Mankovitz
Sr. Civil Engineer
DuPont Canada Inc.

For the Applicant

Mr. Allan Larden
Larden Muniak Consulting Inc.
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Paul Nixon
Building Inspector
Township of Kingston

Mr. Robert Kidd
Fire Inspector
Township of Kingston
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Mr. John Van Oostrom, Principal Civil Engineer, DuPont Canada Inc., is a person who has applied for a permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to renovate an existing nylon manufacturing plant by constructing an addition on the south-east corner of the building at DuPont Canada Inc., Township of Kingston, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The DuPont Canada facility at Kingston has been renovated several times since it was built in 1941. The existing building area is 61,700 m2. Most of this area is 1 storey however the east side is several levels in height. The subject building has a fire alarm system, a standpipe and hose system, and is partially sprinklered. There is also a fire protection main system that encircles the entire building. This includes 20 hydrants on the inside, around the perimeter and on the roof. The fire alarm system and sprinkler system are monitored 24 hours a day.

The Kingston DuPont plant was renovated in 1992 and 1993 to add a nylon spinning facility. Known as the BCF-93 Addition, the spinning facility was constructed on the south-east corner of the original plant. The BCF-93 Addition was deemed to be a separate building since a fire wall was built between it and the existing structure. It was constructed in accordance with Article which allows unrated noncombustible construction. The 1993 addition included a full sprinkler system (electronically supervised) and a standpipe and hose system.

Since there is generally a low fire load in the BCF-93 Addition, the Township at the time classified it as a Group F, Division 3 low hazard industrial occupancy. There are seven levels in the existing BCF area, however, all levels above the ground floor are service platforms and are nearly unoccupied, except for two people on the second level.

The subject renovation proposes to further expand the BCF-93 Addition. The new area will also be noncombustible construction. All of the fire safety systems will be included in the extended building.

With this new addition, the BCF facility would have a total occupant load of 32 persons (27 on the ground floor, 3 on the second and 2 on all other upper levels combined) and would have fire vehicle access routes on 3 sides, covering 70% of the building's perimeter. A further addition, known as the New Quality Area, is to be constructed simultaneously on the west side of the existing BCF-93 Addition and will provide new shipping and warehousing capacity. This area is not under dispute.

  1. Dispute

The issue under dispute between the Applicant and the Respondent is whether the proposed addition is to be considered 1 or 4 storeys in building height. Sentence of the 1990 Ontario Building Code provides exceptions when calculating building height in storeys. If the proposed addition does not comply with Sentence and is found to be 4 storeys in building height then the renovation cannot be constructed in accordance with OBC Article Further, the proposal may also exceed the allowable maximum building area under

  1. Provisions of the Building Code Exceptions to Building Height in Storeys

(8) Mezzanines, elevated walkways and platforms in Group F, Division 2 or 3 major occupancies need not be considered as storeys in calculating building height provided

(a) the building is of noncombustible construction,

(b) except for Clause (c), the mezzanines, elevated walkways and platforms are intended solely for periodic service and maintenance, and

(c) where they are intended to be occupied, no mezzanine, elevated walkway or platform shall have an occupant load more than 4 persons. Buildings, Division 3, up to 4 Storeys

(1) A building classified as Group F, Division 3 shall conform to Sentence (2) provided the building

(a) is not more than 4 storeys in building height

(b) if unsprinklered, has a building area not more than the value in Table, and

(c) if sprinklered, is not more than twice the area limits of Clause (b).

(2) The building shall be of combustible or noncombustible construction used either singly or in combination, and

(a) floor assemblies shall be fire separations and, if of combustible construction, shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,

(b) mezzanines shall have, if of combustible construction, a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min,

(c) roof assemblies shall have, if of combustible construction, a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min, except that in buildings not more than 1 storey in building height, the fire-resistancerating of not less than 45 min, except that in buildings not more than 1 storey in building height, the fire-resistance rating is permitted to be waived provided that the roof assembly is constructed as a fire-retardant treated wood roof system conforming to Article, and

(i) if unsprinklered, the building area is not more than

2 400m2 (25,800 ft2) if facing 1 street,

3 000m2 (32,300 ft2) if facing 2 streets, or

3 600m2 (38,800 ft2) if facing 3 streets, and

(ii) if sprinklered, the building area is not more than twice the area limits of Subclause (i), (see Article for supervised sprinkler systems) and

(d) all loadbearing walls, columns and arches supporting an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating shall have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min or shall be of noncombustible construction.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the proposed renovation of the BCF area could be considered a 1 storey addition in building height. They believe that the proposal meets the criteria found in Sentence As they note, the BCF area, will be all noncombustible construction. The upper levels will only be used for periodic service and inspections, and the occupant load on the second level will be 2 persons, lower than the 4 allowed.

Even though, as the applicant argues, none of the upper levels need to be regarded as storeys, the applicant is proposing that the renovated BCF facility be considered a 2 storey building. This would allow DuPont some flexibility in the future for staffing the second level. The 4,080m2 area of the extended BCF facility, they note, would still fall well below the 7,200m2 allowed under Article for a 2 storey building facing 2 streets.

  1. Chief Building Official's Position

The Respondent submitted that the proposed renovation is 4 storeys in building height. As such, the structural fire-resistance provisions under OBC Article do not apply. They point out that 3 of the upper levels are made of solid concrete construction and cover 100% of the building area. As such, they should be viewed as storeys.

Further, they believe the building exceeds its allowable area. Assuming the building faces 3 streets, they calculate (based on full sprinklering) that the maximum area allowed under is 3,600 m2. In their belief, the proposed structure is approximately 13% over the allowable limit.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the building is considered to be a two storey building with multiple level industrial platforms and complies with the requirements of Article of the Building Code.

  1. Reasons:

1) The building height is necessary for the manufacturing process and equipment.

2) The building is of noncombustible construction.

3) The industrial platforms are intended solely for periodic service and maintenance.

4) The occupant load of no elevated platform exceeds 4 persons.

Dated at Toronto this 28th day in the month of May in the year 1997 for application number 1997-23.

Michael Lio, Chair

Michael Steele

Ross Thomson